Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ramadan For Non-Muslims- Everything You Always Wanted To Know

 Dr. Mike Ghouse

Please note: The article is written with the intent of communicating with fellow Americans to relate with it. It is 2400 words long and is complete and comprehensive. It is everything you always wanted to know about Ramadan. Ramadan is also known as Ramzan in South Asia.
 
Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan.

There is a cause or a causer who created the universe to come into existence, sustain and recycle it, and the word for that causer is God in different languages (or faiths). No matter how and what name you call upon him –he is one. There (she or it) cannot be different causers for the same universe.

The physical aspect of the human journey from the sperm and an egg through death is programmed precisely. The formula is the same for all humans, and there is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or other genes.

When the universe came into being, two main products of the process were Matter and Life. The matter functions precisely as designed, like the Sun, Jupiter, Earth, or the Moon playing their part. On the other hand, humans have complete freedom, guidance (any religion), and intelligence to create their own balance to live securely and in relative harmony.

A balanced society is where every one of us functions cohesively. It is sustained by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each of us. If we mess with the web, we mess with ourselves ultimately. If we mess with the environmental balance, we will pay for it, just as we bear the loss of health if we mess with what we eat, drink and smoke. There is a consequence for imbalance.

Different Religions

You may note that identical spiritual wisdom emerges in different parts of the world simultaneously; the most outstanding example would be how a mother figures out what to do with her crying baby in the jungles of Amazon or the high society of Hollywood, she knows the child is hungry and needs to be fed.

Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and I would say faith is in the heart of the believer, and every religion is dear to its believer. Religion is like mother, to each one his/her mother is dear.

Religion is about love for fellow beings; a majority of us in every religion get that right but for a few, who keep messing up society’s cohesiveness.

Religion is never the problem; it is the individual who doesn’t get his religion right is the problem.

Rituals of Ramadan 

Rituals are a part of our life from birth to death, even though some of us may not acknowledge it. Whether we go to the gym, eat, sleep, wear clothes, drive or talk on the phone, we follow certain rituals. The rituals signify the stepping stones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual.

Discipline is necessary to do things on time, manage personal relationships, drive to a destination or keep within budget. The result of disciplined behavior is worthwhile for most people. When we are joyous, we have to express that sentiment; otherwise, a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.

Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Islam has five essential rituals that Muslims around the world observe, and one of them is fasting.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and Muslims observe it with complete devotion; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will, ill-talk, ill-actions, and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a whole month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to bring moderation to their daily lives. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one, taught that human suffering came with an unrestrained desire to possess and had recommended a middle path. The same recommendation came from Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago.

The Quran was completed and delivered to the Prophet in the month of Ramadan, and Muslims make sure they collectively recite the entire Quran during Ramadan.

Although Ramadan is known for its culinary delicacies and fancy iftars (ceremonial breaking of fast at sundown), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lie in a human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality.

Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting during Navaratri, the Jains in seven to nine days of fasting during Paryushana, Christians during forty days of lent, and Jews for seven days around Yom Kippur. Likewise, you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.

RAMADAN IN THE LIFE OF A MUSLIM

Moon Sighting     

Ramadan begins with the moon sighting! One group insists that they have to see the Moon themselves, while the other accepts if someone else has seen it. In the United States, most Muslims go by Nasa’s calendar so they can plan the festivities. However, it is a joy to wait and watch for the pencil-thin Moon to appear in the sky. Parents place their kids on their shoulders, and kids get excited to watch that Moon from the top of their parent’s shoulders. 

Chandni Raat 
 
The moment one sees the Moon or hears an announcement, they dash to the marketplace to shop and celebrate. It is originally a South Asian tradition but has become universal.

Special Ramadan Prayers 

Muslims have various practices – Special Prayers called Taraweeh are prayed in the late evening, followed by nightly prayers called Isha. Typically, 20 to 22 units of prayers. They complete reciting 30 chapters of the Quran in 30 days (or 29). Taraweeh is usually performed in a congregation, generally a Mosque.

A TYPICAL DAY (Times are approximate)
 
 4:00 AM

The entire family rises in the morning, and together they prepare the food for Sahri or Suhoor – the meal before fasting. In our case, I would chop the onions, and my sister would flatten the dough to make Rotis (flatbread), one brother would wash the dishes, and the others would sit around and talk. My mother would sit by the stove (Chula), and my father would make sure all the ingredients were available. It is a family affair and brings families closer. Food habits vary from region to region; we made Rotis (Flatbread) with Subzi and Keema (minced meat) and capped it off with a good cup of tea or lassi. We have to finish eating by 5 AM and ask God to accept our fasting. The cut-off time to eat or drink is about 30 minutes before sunrise, depending on the tradition.

5:30 AM

Pray together or go to the mosque if it is near.  

6:00 AM
Sleep for a few hours (Ramadan only) and go to work and some choose to study the Quran in a group called Halaqa. This is a month of reflection and connection with family members.
 
1:30 PM

The prayer in the afternoon is followed by the one in the late afternoon. One can pray individually, but a congregational prayer is a good option. Remember, it is about bringing the communities together. The Shia Muslims usually combine both the prayers and the Sunnis and Ahmadi do it one by one.
 
6:30 PM – IFTAAR

Iftar is breaking day long fast.

Sunset – some follow the times prescribed for the evening, and some keep looking at the sky (if it is the clear sky) to see the sunset.  

A prayer call (Azan) goes out at sunset; while the Sunnis and Ahmadi Muslims take the first bite of the date fruit and sip some water, the Shias will wait until after the prayer. 

Since the observers have not had anything to drink or eat for the whole day, they will start with fruits and light snacks and let the stomach get ready for the entire meal after the evening (Maghrib) prayer. It is a thoughtful process

Iftar Parties 

The parties are community-building events. Muslims invite their non-Muslim friends to join them for the Iftar parties. An entire range of foods is available to eat. Indian Muslims offer both vegetarian and non-veg foods (Hindu and Jain) to honor the guests. 
 
In a given Mosque, you will find Muslims from at least 20 to 30 countries, and as such, the variety of dishes increase by number. Biryani is the King of South Asian cuisine, and Naan, Keema, Korma, Rooh Afza, Sweet Lassi, Mango Lassi, and Gulab Jamun are on the plates. One universal item consumed worldwide is the dessert made out of vermicelli; the South Asians call it Seviyaan, and the Shir Khurma is very popular- it can be a drink or soup.  

Politicians and corporations also organize the Iftar parties. The tradition was started by President Bill Clinton and carried through President Obama, and we hope Biden will re-start it. 

 
8:30 PM Taraweeh Prayers (described earlier).

LAST DAY OF RAMADAN  
 
On the evening of the 28th as well as 29th everyone is out looking for that Moon again; once an announcement comes out, celebrations begin. Chand Raat (Moon Night) opens up, and people go shopping; it is like shopping on the last day of Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Diwali, or other festivities. It is a good tradition of excitement and joy for successfully observing the entire month of Ramadan dutifully. 

Children and adults paint Mehendi (henna) on their hands with various designs. They look forward to it.

Zakat

Every Muslim takes out 2.5% of his/her wealth and passes it on to the needy. Most people pay in advance, but as usual, some pay on the last day, like we file our IRS tax returns on April 15th. 

Eid- the big celebration

Everyone in the family gets up in the morning, and it is the dawn of the new era. Eat breakfast and go for the mass or congregational prayers, which is also known as Jamaat. Since a Mosque cannot accommodate all the people in the area, they rent convention halls or big banquet halls. Dallas, Texas, rents the Convention Center, where some 20,000 people gather for the congregational prayers. Back in my town Yelahanka and perhaps in other places, they all go to the cemeteries – there is always a place made for prayers on the grounds.

It is the day to celebrate and includes forgiving each other and starting afresh by hugging three times. My interpretation of the three is “forgive me,” “I forgive you,” and “Let us begin” the relationship afresh. The Jains say “Michami Dukkadam” meaning, let’s forgive each other, and start the new year with a clean slate.

Way back in the late’70s Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Asrani, Mehmood, and other Bollywood actors participated in Eid prayers in Yelahanka, my hometown, a suburb of Bangalore. Mehmood lived a mile or two from the cemetery. The movie stars enjoy the different ways one can worship the creator.
 
Praying for the deceased

It’s like Memorial Day, almost every Muslim visits the cemetery to pray for their loved one buried there. You will always find yourself connected to them. You can pray for them from anywhere, and on this day of joy, you feel their absence even more.

EIDI

It is a gift you generally present to kids and family members as we do during Christmas, Diwali, and other holidays. Traditionally the man of the house presents the gifts, but in the United States, women present the gifts as well as we all earn equally, and at times women earn more than men. It is usually cash to spend. During my childhood; my father gave me one Anna (like 25 Paise), I and my friend dashed to the store behind our home and drank Orange Soda which was half Anna. That was the greatest pleasure we had.

Eid Parties 

It is usually an open house for families, friends, and community members to visit for lunch. A typical family visits at least three homes and of course the practices vary from Muslim to Muslim.
 
Exceptions: 

Fasting is exempt for individuals with diabetes and other difficulties, pregnant women, and even people traveling. If you miss it, you have the option to make it up. 
 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity, or usurps their rights. The fasting of the limbs must match the fasting of the stomach. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. For example, the tongue’s temptations — lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity, and senseless argumentation — must be curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.

The consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas, Rosh Hashana, or Dussehra go beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity, and caring.

True fasting is self-purification. From this comes a rich inner life that brings about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy, and empathy — values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Knowing about hunger is different from knowing it. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human experience. Our hardness of heart often springs from our distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick, disenfranchised, oppressed — we rarely walk a mile in their shoes, not even a few steps. “Rest assured,” cautioned one teacher, “if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you will not care for those who are.”

Ramadan will come and go with such stealth, and what is it that we value, and why? We can change our habits, customs including obsessive behavior, in the face of a higher calling.

For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting imparts a sense of what it means to be truly human. Its observance reflects its universality in Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian, and other faiths. More about Ramadan at www.Ramadanexclusive.com

Let the spirit of Ramadan develop an understanding and respect for each one of God’s creation – that is all of us.

The most common greetings of the Ramadan festival are Ramadan Mubarak, Eid Mubarak, Ramadan Kareem, and then there is variation depending on the language you speak.

Picture’s courtesy – Boston Globe and the Atlantic

 Please note: The artic

Dr. Mike Ghouse is the president of the Center for Pluralism, an author of the book American Muslim Agenda and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is committed to build cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His bio is at www.TheGhouseDiary.com or Linked-in.
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ramadan Mubarak - the essence of Ramadan may be traceable in your faith

Interfaith Science of Ramadan:  Can Hindus, Christians and Jews connect?
http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2015/07/ramadan-mubarak-essence-of-ramadan-may.html

This article tracks the general purpose of religion and how each religion can appeal to people of different faiths.  Religions and festivities came into being to bring people together and not divide them. Here we explore Ramadan, two of the major festivals of Muslims.


 
Whether you are an Atheist, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Native American, Pagan, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, and Zoroastrian or from any other tradition, you may feel a sense of connection with the spirit of Ramadan.


 God is a word for the cause that creates, sustains and recycles this universe, and belongs to all that exists and is not the exclusive dominion of anyone.  No matter how and what name you call upon him – he (she or it) cannot be a different causer for each one of us.  

The physical aspect of human journey from the sperm and an egg stage through the death is programmed precisely. The formula is same for all of humanity;    and there is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other gene.

Regardless of what is being said about origins in terms of evolution, creation or the big bang, the undeniable fact is our existence, and we have to figure out how to live with each other.

When the universe came into being, two main products of the process were Matter and Life.

While the matter is programmed to be in self-balance and functions precisely for which it is designed, like the Sun, Jupiter, Earth or the Moon playing its part, the (human) life on the other hand was not programmed; we were given complete freedom, guidance and intelligence to create our own balance for survival.

A balanced society is where every one of us functions cohesively in small parcels of this big World Wide Web.  It is sustained by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. If we mess with the web, we mess with ourselves ultimately.  If we mess with the environmental balance we will pay for it, just as we bear the loss of health if we mess with what we eat, drink and smoke. There is a consequence for imbalance.

Birth of Religion

We lose the balance if we don’t trust and lie to each other, rob the other, and not keep the promises we make to fellow beings.   This is when religion appears; it is the love of the creator for his creation, just as a mother loves her children –someone among us will rise and restore that balance.  Didn’t Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and other masters restore the righteousness and balance in the society?  I hope you can relate with this thought in your own scriptures and legends.

An identical spiritual wisdom emerges in different parts of the world simultaneously; the greatest example would be how a mother figures out what to do with her crying baby in the jungles of Amazon or the high society in London. 

Indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and as a corollary I would say, faith is in the heart of the believer, and every religion is dear to its believer.  

Religion is about love for fellow beings, a majority of us in every religion get that right but for a few, who keep messing up the cohesiveness of the society. Those few are not an identifiable group, but the infraction in each one of us when we become biased towards the others.  Religion is never the problem; it is the individuals who don’t get their religion right are the problem.

Ramadan and you.

From the moment we are born to the last rites of our life, and every moment in between is laden with rituals, even though some of us may deny it. Whether we go to the gym, eat, sleep, wear clothes, drive or talk on the phone, we follow rituals.

Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions.

Discipline is necessary to do things on time, manage personal relationships, drive to a destination or keep within budget. The result of disciplined behavior is worthwhile for most people. When we are joyous, whether we are a theist or not, we have to express that sentiment, otherwise a sense of incompleteness lingers in our hearts.

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.
Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is generally observed with a ritual precision; it is an annual training or a refresher. It requires one to abstain from food, drink, intimacy, ill-will, ill-talk, ill-actions and other temptations from dawn to dusk, every day for a month. One has to rise above his or her baser desires. Islam gifts this month to its followers to inculcate discipline to bring moderation to their daily lives. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha, the enlightened one taught that human suffering is caused by unrestrained desire to possess and had recommended a middle path, and the same recommendation was made by Prophet Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago.

Although Ramadan is popularly known in the west for its culinary delicacies and fancy iftars (ceremonial breaking of fast at sun down), the spirit and intent of Ramadan lies in a human transformation in a month-long inner spiritual journey of finding oneself in tune with spirituality.

Hindus can see that transformation in nine days of fasting during Navaratri, the Jains in 8-10 days of fasting during Paryushana, Christians during 40 days of lent, Jews for 7 days around Yom Kippur….likewise you find fasting is a way of life in most traditions.

God has no need for the hunger or thirst of someone who hurts others, violates their dignity or usurps their rights, said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The fasting of the stomach must be matched by the fasting of the limbs. The eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all have their respective fasts to undergo. The tongue's temptations, for example -- lies, backbiting, slander, vulgarity and senseless argumentation -- must be challenged and curbed to maintain the integrity of the fast.

Consciousness of behavior and vigilance over action are the most profound dimensions of fasting: the fasting of the heart focuses on the attachment to the divine. That is when Ramadan really becomes a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas or Dussera goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring.

True fasting is self-purification; and from this comes a rich inner life that bring about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy -- values that are indispensable for the success of the community.

Knowing about hunger is different from knowing hunger. Empathy is not an intellectual equation; it is a human experience. Our hardness of heart often springs from our distance from the human condition of others. The poor, sick, disenfranchised, oppressed -- we rarely walk a mile in their shoes, not even a few steps. "Rest assured," cautioned one teacher, "if you do not taste what it feels like to be hungry, you will not care for those who are."

Ramadan will come and go with such stealth that we cannot but be reminded of our mortality. What is it that we value and why? Habits, customs, even obsessive behavior like smoking can be curtailed with relative ease in the face of a higher calling.


For fasting to be truly universal, its benefits must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims and must extend to forging a common humanity with others. Fasting is meant to impart a sense of what it means to be truly human, and its universality is reflected by its observance in Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Sikh, Zoroastrian and other faiths. More about Ramadan at www.Ramadanexclusive.com

What can you do?
Unless we connect with fellow humans, and unless they can relate with us,  our faith, philosophy and traditions, we will remain disconnected with the society. 

This article is about understanding and developing a sense of shared destiny of humanity to create cohesive societies where no human has to feel alienated from others. It is based on Quran's wisdom in 49:13.

You may disagree with a few premises, and I invite you to counter them, so together we can develop better understanding to live and let others live. 

I hope you'd would like this, and if you do,  please share it with your Non-Muslim and Muslim friends. We at America Together Foundation are committed to finding solutions through patience, kindness and education. Our goal is to learn about each other and work on mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. 

I hope you want the good message to reach out to a maximum number of people, particularly non-Muslims, that's who we focus on. 

The article is published in several news papers:
  1. Op-Ed News - Ramadan for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others http://www.opednews.com/articles/Ramadan-for-Christians-Je-by-Mike-Ghouse-ATHEIST_Bahai_Buddhist_Christian-Universalism-150716-714.html
  2. Counter Currents - Interfaith Ramadan,  The Essence...  http://www.countercurrents.org/ghouse160715.htm
  3. Saddahaq - Interfaith science of Ramadan traceable in your faith  https://www.saddahaq.com/interfaith-science-of-ramadan-the-essence-may-be-traceable-in-your-faith

God willing, it will be published in Huffington Post, Arab Daily News and several other sites across the world.  Alhamdu Lillah, the media has been good to us and we will continue to populate the article on the internet.
We need to continue this work and need your support.  We need to raise $60k thru December, all supporters will be listed on the website www. AmericansTogether.org

Please donate generously for this non-profit 501 (c) Organization
http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/ 

Let the spirit of Ramadan develop an understanding and respect for each one of God’s creation – that is all of us. Ramadan Mubarak!
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.   Info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings atTheGhouseDiary.com 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ramadan Mubarak, a short note

  
May this Ramadan be a blessing to the entire universe, Amen! God is not anyone's property, he belongs to all and no matter what name and how you call upon him, it is the same creator. There is no such thing as a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other God. God is a fancy word for the cause that created this universe.  Since 2010, God has blessed me to visit a mosque a day for Iftaar (breaking the fast), and thank God, I have visited every Mosque of every denominations in Dallas including the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem - that is over 40 different Mosques. 



The purpose of visiting different Mosque was to learn about each others' varied traditions - to respect the otherness of others as God has guided,  and to get rid of the Takabbur (arrogance) in us- Humility builds bridges and arrogance kills it. We have to remember, that other traditions are dear to others, as our traditions are dear to us. Ramadan is also a month to knock out the ignorance about others, take time to visit Synagogues, Churches, Temples, Gurdwaras and other places of worship, God is all over and in every thing.  You can read some of the articles about Ramadan - the spirit, rituals, politics and traditions of Ramadan on the left panel at  www.RamadanExclusive.com

Please feel free to leave your comments



Thank you,
mike ghouse   
(214) 325-1916

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist,  TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Louisville Eid Celebrations, Prayers, Misogyny, Urdu and the film.

www.TheGhouseDiary.com
URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/07/louisville-eid-celebrations-prayers.html

Despite the problems in the world, life should go on!  Our kids need to see the problems but must be taught to move on in life and learn to create a better world through such experiences. 

Perhaps, we can cherish what we have done in raising our kids to be friendly with fellow kids regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity or other uniqueness. Indeed, that is the very first model of citizenship that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) initiated; he was called Amin, a sum total  of many qualities among them are the truth teller, honest, unbiased, non-judgmental,  trustworthy, caring and respectful of his neighbors; Jews, Christians, Pagans and others at that time.  Very few of us want our kids to be bigots, and almost all of us want our kids to grow up with an open mind and an open heart. Thank God for that.

Most Parents want their kids to have a better life, and they fix them up with material things. I hope they fix them with things that will make them a better and caring human as well. 

At this time, I am concerned about the ugliness of a few Jewish and Palestinian parents who teach hatred towards the other. Man, they are messing up their kids, when they grow up they will have difficulty in working and relating with normal people. I hope it becomes a norm with the Jewish and the Palestinian parents in the conflict zones to teach their children about the suffering, and I pray that the Jewish and Muslim parents don’t screw up their kid’s life by injecting hatred for each other and I pray that the kids will reject their parents hatred for the other. Parents may have had a bad time, should they make it bad for their children too? I pray not. 

Indeed, life is a gift of God and we have to do everything to preserve it, and express our gratitude for what we have, and pray for those who lost the loved ones and all their life time’s love of labor in the ongoing conflicts, wars, massacres and genocides.  

This Ramadan has been a blessing, none of the Mosques I have been to in the last 30 days, none, not one of them preached hatred towards any, and they simply prayed for the victims. I hope the same is true in our churches, synagogues and other places, as I intend to visit them and hope to find goodness in the places of worship..  Article at Oped News  

Now coming to this Eid - I have lost the desire to take pictures; I just took a few even though camera was with me in the car or on the shelf at home.  But it was good to see every one appreciate the blessings of Ramadan while praying for the well beings of the victims of the conflicts.



CELEBRATIONS

It was good to visit a few friends’ homes for the Eid, a beautiful tradition that most of us have brought forward. We also stopped by at the River Road Mosque; it was good to see families gather there on a social basis. Eid is a time to catch up with most people. Great food everywhere, and finally we had our family gathering at home, and Yasmeen cooked some of the most fabulous dishes. 

MISOGYNY

I am sensitive to bias, prejudices, misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Hinduism, homophobia and other evils of the society. My antennas pick up the tiniest vibrations and I speak out.  Check out Ramadan’s Pluralism Message

The convention center was a great place to accommodate the Muslims of Greater Louisville and loved the open hall - with no wall separating men and women although they were in two different sections. I did not take pictures, but the arrangement was good. 

The Imam who delivered the sermon at the convention center was good, but for the insensitive misogynistic comment. He began his talk by addressing the women, asking them to quit talking and control their kids…. That is awful! Only women talk? Where does he live? Men gossip and chatter as much as women do in our society, and children are equally managed by either parent; it’s just not the mothers.  

I talked to the Imam after the prayers, and asked him not to be misogynistic in the future. He can always address the noise makers, whoever they are, but not point to a group of people; in this case women – that is stereotyping.  By the way, this is the men thing, and men from every faith, race and ethnicity are guilty of it, and I visit every place of worship from Aztecs to Zoroastrians and every one in between, the story is the same. All we can do is take corrective steps. Indeed, Islam teaches us to give dignity to every woman and a child, and we must.  We need a sensitivity training for men.

APPKI

Someday, when I have a little time, I would like to know more about APPKI, an organization that I have come to admire. I just found out that Dr. Aftab Ahmed was also one of the founders of the APPKI. You guys and gals are blessed ones to have open hearts and minds, keep it up. Indeed, it was Jinnah’s dream to have a Pakistan or its representation to be inclusive of ever Pakistani regardless of his or her faith or ethnicity and you guys have done it. This note is an update to the article I wrote about APPKI at Huffington post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/the-pakistani-american-do_b_5323434.html 

URDU

I am pleased to commence a monthly or bi-monthly informal gathering to exchange poetry and literature in Urdu and Hindi languages. The first session would be at Yasmeen’s house on Wednesday 7-8:30, tea and light refreshments will be served and we can rotate this in different homes. It will be intellectually refreshing to have a gathering like this. But please RSVP by texting me at (214) 325-1916, I don’t want to have 50 friends over and not be ready for it.


THE FILM – FLAMES OF PASSION

Produced by America Together Foundation, a non-profit organization. 



The Film is based on a successful real life event about ordinary people effecting extraordinary changes. It is a story about skillfully managing conflicting issues of safety of Americans overseas, upholding freedom of speech, improving perceptions about Islam and preserving sanctity of religions.

The film depicts human fears, apprehensions; thrill seeking, suspense, drama, romance, disappointments and the role of justice during the attempted Quran burning event in Mulberry, Florida.

It is an epitome of nonviolent conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance based on the teachings of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hopefully the world will see a new paradigm in making; what Muslims ought to be, and how they will respond to future incidents of Quran Burning, criticism of Islam, and cartoons of the Prophet. It will be good for Muslims and good for the world. Indeed, blessed are the peacemakers.Tax deductible Donations of $1000, $5000, $10,000 or greater can be made at: http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/

THE ONLY PICTURES I TOOK THIS TIME





Mike
(214) 325-1916
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.
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